Hurricane warning...

Nurses General Nursing


Well, we're battin' down the hatches in South Louisiana, waiting to see what happens with TS/Hurricane Isadore (sp?). I have to work the next two nights and I'm really hoping I don't get stuck there or have to work longer than normal shifts. So here's a question for those of you who've worked through natural disasters...were you forced to stay extra if other nurses (your relief) weren't able to come to work? Were you "strongly encouraged" but not technicallly forced? What safeguards does your facility have in place to assure there are nurses to care for the patients, without having you work 20 hour shifts and stay in the hospital during your off time? I haven't been to work in a week, so I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone I work with who's been through this before. Any advice, stories, etc. would be appreciated. :)


735 Posts

I had to stay 4 days once during a flood with impending evacuation.

We didn't end up evacuating but there was no way to go home even if we wanted to.

Actually was kinda fun. We hung out and took care of the pts. (not leaving also meant no new ones).

We slept in a central area in shifts and got a really nice paycheck too.



11 Posts

I got snowed in for three days when I worked in a southeren ER and I did work hurricane Opal as a paramedic I found it a true learning experience both times. But the truthis once you are there you're pretty much there till it's over.


95 Posts

Being from Buffalo NY I was often snowed in at work. The blizzards pretty much eliminate driving so you may as well work. Our hospital provided scrubs, stretchers and empty rooms for sleeping. And of course the famous "blizzard Brownies " from the dietary dept. Meals were free and there was always a good deal of comradery and pitching in. Hurricaines are new to me so Ican't offer much in that area.


703 Posts

Yep. When I worked in a state that had deep, deep snow (we called them white-outs), no one could come or leave during the storm and until roads were cleared. I got in the habit of keeping a small overnight bag in my car with changes of underware, my own toothbrush, etc. Central supply always handed out "snow packets" with shampoo, toiletries, etc. If you go in, be prepared to stay awhile.

bagladyrn, RN

2,286 Posts

Specializes in OB.

I once spent 3 days snowed in at a state psych hospital! And have been required to stay at other facilities over the years for various weather conditions. I'd suggest that when you go in to work the next couple of shifts, take along a small bag with change of undies, any meds you take regularly, and a few snacks and bottled water (better than waiting for the hospital to get around to you) Make arrangements with a neighbor or friend that you can call if phones are working to check in on your home so you won't be wondering and worrying.


1,244 Posts

Most of the places that I've worked here in FL require staff who are scheduled to come in if there is a hurricane. Most places would also allow you to bring your family.

If there's a hurricane and you're scheduled, and you don't show, you're fired.

You get paid 24hr pay even though you only work your shift or prn.

ERNurse752, RN

1,323 Posts

We just had a tornado go through here, but no one really got stuck at work...just going home. ;)

Buy my hospital sounds like the others above when people get snowed in, etc...

Specializes in NICU.

At my facility, we are split into two teams. I am on 1, and if the hospital decides that we have to come in, I have 24 hours to pack my stuff and show up. We would then be required to stay until the hospital goes off of activation, at which point the recovery team would come in to work shifts and we could all go home. I've already got my supplies packed and by the door just in case (although I'm praying to God that this thing stays weak and I don't have to go in). If I didn't show up when called, I would be fired. For hurricane ****, they had no real plan in place, and when everyone fled, they were understaffed. Then people only got suspended w/o pay; now you get fired for not showing up. The problem, in my opinion, with our plan, is that teams are decided by geography. If there is a hurricane this year and I have to sleep there, I will also have to sleep there next year and the year after that and so on if there are more hurricanes. If there is a second hurricane this year, I will have to go back in, say, a second time to sleep there and staff the unit. It really sucks- I think there should be a lottery system, or if you work one hurricane you don't have to do so again for four years or something like that. It isn't fair to the employees who just happen to live in a certain geographical area. We are invited to bring family along, but they are not guaranteed anything and are expected to help out if asked (for instance, the scenario I was given was if my husband came with me, and they needed someone to mop the floor and had no one, he would be expected to do it. He laughed at me and said he'd rather bunker down in our flooded apartment, clinging to the chandelier, than go mop the floor in that place!! rofl). Also, unlike previous years, no sheets, etc. will be given out- if you don't bring it with you, you don't get it. We have a designated area where we will be sleeping on the floor if this happens (I bought an eggcrate mattress just in case). We will be provided with two meals a day from the cafeteria but our families must pay for theirs, etc. It basically bites. Now, if you'll go excuse me, I have to light a candle and lead my husband in fervent prayer that we will suddenly be transported to a cottage in maine. ;>) Hope y'all are okay, wherever you are!


215 Posts

In Florida,,,, and as department head,,, I am expected,,, to be there for any disaster/ hurricane,,,,

we use staff already there,,,, let them go home prepare there things,,, and call in all staff we think we will need,,,, Sleep in shifts,,,

My employees get paid from the time they enter the building till they leave,,,, I usually have no problem getting enough staff to work,,,, they are also allowed to bring thier familiesy

I am salary,,,,,, sigh,,,,, So my pay just gets lower and lower,,,,



29 Posts

I lived in South LA for several years and was lucky enough to get stuck at the hospital for 5 days during Hurricane Georges (Late 90's). We had to stay until the relief got their. We had evacuated as many patients as we could so it wasnt too terrible. Have you ever tried starting an IV with a flash light? NO fun. We had to open windows after the storm passed prior to the electricity being restored. Talk about muggy. Did nothing for my "do"... :)


21 Posts

Well I don't know anything about hospital experiences b/c I work for a dialisis clinic but I'm from Louisiana too and I don't think the hurricane will be that bad. It's barely a level 1. So chances are nobody should call in saying they can't come. :)

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